I’m a rodent expert and there are more than 200 MILLION rats living in Britain – three times more than humans | The Sun

THERE are more than 200 million rats living in Britain, way more than the number of humans, a rodent expert has estimated.

Steven Belmain warned there were “billions more rats in the world than humans – and they’re breeding rapidly.”

He revealed the shocking figures while appearing on a Triggernometry podcast.

Asked by the hosts if he had an estimate for the number of rats in the UK, Mr Belmain replied: “More than there are people, by far.”

However, he said that putting an exact figure on the rodent population was “a challenge”.

He said: “It’s a lot of effort to try to get those estimates, to go out and do a trapping.”

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While Britain’s population is around 70m people, Mr Belmain estimated there was “at least three times that many rats. Easily.”

Mr Belmain thought the actual number could “probably be much more than that.”

He added: “There have been some studies that have tried to understand how many rats are killed just in agricultural production.

“So if you think about large cereal crops, you’ve got rats living out in those fields and they’re just living in the soil, burrowing in there, eating the wheat or the maize, or whatever it is – and they till the soil, which in itself just chews up lots of rats.

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“It’s literally billions of rats around the world living in those sorts of situations that are being destroyed in agricultural production.

“So here in the UK, there’s lots of livestock farms that are heavily infested, there’s a lot of cereal crops, where again, there’s just rats living out there, taking advantage of that.”

Mr Belmain also warned that rats can also reproduce rapidly.

He said: “Rodents are very good breeding machines. They can do something called ‘postpartum estrus’.”

“That means as soon as they give birth they can get pregnant almost immediately. The next day they can get pregnant again.

“So they still have a young litter that they’re nursing. If it’s a mother rat, she’s nursing one litter and she’s pregnant with the next.

“As soon as those babies are weaned and go off into the environment, she’s giving birth the next day.

“So the gestation period and the weaning period coincide in a number of days.”

Mr Belmain added: “Essentially, every month, most species of rodent can have another litter of young.”

Last month, another rat expert estimated there was around 150m rats living in the UK and warned “no one is safe”.

The invasion of rats into UK homes has increased by 25 per cent each year over the pandemic, partly because people staying home meant there was less food on the streets.

Pest control expert Ian Helands said: "They're cunning and getting bolder and bolder. Basically, if they want to get into your home, they will.

"There are more rats than ever and they are taking over. I have seen some the size of cats."

We previously told of how horrified a mum was when she realised a rat was living under her back car seat after her children's seat belts were chewed through almost completely.

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